Monday, January 19, 2015

Today I Made Ghee...

Quote for the Day:
"Your health will never be found at the bottom of a box or bag."
~author unknown


As many of my friends, family, and long-time readers know, I suffer from a LOT of inflammation, ie, osteoarthritis, hip tendonitis, bursitis, as well as several other diet-caused disorders.  Being overweight is just one of the symptoms of my poor diet.

So on January 15th, I started on a health project.  I decided to do a dietary "cleanse".  

No, no, no...not the kind of "cleanse" that requires lots of high colonics!  This is an "elimination" diet...which still sounds bad, I guess.  In reality, you remove all dietary "offenders" that can cause inflammation in the body.  Then after your body...and gut...have a chance to heal, you slowly start re-introducing foods to see which ones cause a negative reaction in your body.  Or...you can just stay on the diet, which is pretty much just a "paleo" diet.  

Basically, the diet is REAL FOOD!!!  NO sugar or sweeteners of any kind, NO dairy, NO legumes, NO grains, NO alcohol, NO soy, NO carrageenan, MSG or sulfites, and NO trying to re-create baked goods,  junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients.

Since you don't used processed foods, I've spent a lot of time prepping and cooking meals.  I joked with Andy that I've cooked more in the last couple of days than I have in the last 10 years....and that's not too much of an exaggeration, either!  

I have such a sweet tooth, it isn't even funny.  But I've learned to drink my coffee with just unsweetened coconut milk...and sometimes a dash of nutmeg!  Who knew? 

With the "no dairy" rule, there is one exception...you can use "ghee"...which is butter with the milk solids cooked out.  But have you priced "ghee"???   OMGhee!!!  That is certainly cost-prohibitive!!!

So today, I made it myself using this online tutorial!  Now let me just tell you this...before a few days ago I didn't even KNOW what ghee was...but today I made some!!!  (BTW, it's pronounced with a hard "g"...as in "gravy"...not a soft "g" like in the word "gee-whiz".) 

Here is my finished product from one pound of butter...


It turned out pretty clear, even though I can't get that to show up in pictures.  It was still warm in these pictures, but will harden at room temperature and can be stored at room temp...which is a plus since my fridge is currently overrun with fresh veggies, eggs, and leftovers right now!


This is exciting to me, because now I will have "butter" to cook with and to use on veggies!

Loretta




Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Took a Little Trip...


Quote for the Day:

All my friends know the low rider
The low rider is a little higher

Low rider drives a little slower
Low rider is a real goer

Low rider knows every street, yeah
Low rider is the one to meet, yeah

Low rider don't use no gas now
Low rider don't drive too fast

Take a little trip, take a little trip
Take a little trip and see
Take a little trip, take a little trip
Take a little trip with me

~lyrics, "Low Rider"


I had a long string of days off from work starting on December 31, so Andy and I decided to go to Tennessee to ring in the New Year and spend some time with Erin, Dale, Sera and Clark.  We haven't seen them since we were there in June when Clark was first born.  Boy, has he grown!  


Sera is so sweet with him and tries to keep him entertained with his toys.


For some reason, he didn't like Grandpa when he had his New York Yankees hat on and would screw up his face and cry at the sight.   
True story! 


As soon as Andy would remove his hat and coat, Clark would be all smiles and go right to him!  We actually weren't sure if it was the hat or the bulky black coat that Clark didn't like because if Andy had one on, he had the other one on, too.  One time Andy hung his coat on the door knob with the hat on top of it and Clark just kept leaning over to look at them hanging there.  He wasn't happy till they were moved out of his sight!  

This is Dale, Lucy (Dale's mom) and Erin...all collaborating on supper!  


Sera likes to watch her movies on the computer...


And Ginger liked having a playmate...


Sorry that the pictures aren't the greatest quality, but I didn't take my regular camera because I wanted to try out the camera on my new phone...trying to pare down what I travel with, so thought the camera phone would suffice.  Hmmm...  

We returned home just hours before the first snowstorm of the season and the coldest temperatures so far this season.  I think winter has decided to arrive with a bang!  

Loretta


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Crocheting and Quilting...

Quote for the Day:
"Knowledge is realizing that the street is one-way, 
wisdom is looking both directions anyway."
~author unknown


My daughter said that my granddaughter wanted some mittens and an ear warmer for Christmas...mittens because she's only had gloves until now, and an ear warmer so her hair wouldn't get messed up by a hat.  Since Sera is 8, life is all about "Frozen", the Disney movie....which, by the way, I haven't seen, yet....but I'm sure I'll get the chance when we go to visit soon!  
Armed with this knowledge...mittens...ear warmer..."Frozen"...I went to work on making those items for her for Christmas.  We will be celebrating our Christmas when we go visit, so that gave me a few extra days after Christmas to finish them up.  I put the finishing touches on them today. This is my first experience at making either one, so I'm kinda happy with the way they turned out!  





I purchased the blue yarn, but the white with silver yarn and the eyelash yarn were gifted to me by two of the ladies in my fibers arts group.  I think those two yarns really added a "frozen" element to them!  I hope that Sera like them and that they fit!   


Last week I showed a quilt block I had made with vintage embroidered linens and 1930's repros fabric.  I've had fun making more of those blocks while on Christmas vacation, and now there are 16!!


Here's a close-up of some of the blocks....



I think this next one is my favorite one so far because I decided to leave the crocheted edging on it...



Loretta

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Eve!!!




I hope that you are all settling into your Christmas celebration, whatever that may entail!  Your hard work has paid off and now it is time to enjoy your family, your baked goodies, and your decorations!  

We didn't decorate or bake this year, but I've been enjoying my 9-day break from work by spending lots of time in my sewing room!  Yesterday was the Christmas party at the chiropractor's office where I work part-time and it was nice to enjoy the company of my co-workers.  The recovery room where I work has delayed their get-together until after the holidays.

Today I've been streaming Christmas music on my tablet, which is nice because I can take with with me from room to room, depending on where I am and what I'm doing!  Tonight I will be attending Christmas Eve mass with my neighbors, followed by refreshments at their house.  I made some peanut butter chex mix and deviled eggs to take over with us.  We're going to take our Apples to Apples game and see if we can interest them in playing!  

For now, though, let me share pics of my recently finished "Sherbet" quilt.  I put it into my hand-quilting frame on 3/31/14 and took it out about 10 days ago!  It has been labeled and washed and I LOVE the way it turned out!  Nice and crinkly, like a vintage quilt!  



A close up of the crinkliness...


Even the backing is pieced!  



Now, shamelessly bragging on my grandchildren...because I'm a grandmother and it's my prerogative!  :)

Clark, 6 months, and Sera, 8 years

Last weekend our son and daughter-in-law had Christmas at her grandparents house and she sent me these pictures.  

Alex 17 months, with his great-grandfather!

My son, Paul, grandson, Andrew III, in the middle, and his little cousin on the right...
looks like they are enjoying the four-wheeler.


Loretta

Monday, December 22, 2014

A New Project...



Background:  I collect vintage hand-embroidered linens...dresser scarves, doilies, pillowcases, etc.  I don't just "collect" them, I actually USE THEM in my home on a daily basis!!!  

However, sometimes items will get stained or develop holes in them, and I can't bring myself to just toss them out.  So what's a girl to do???  For a couple of years now I've been thinking of how I can preserve the embroidery in a quilt.  I came across this blog post this past summer and decided that I wanted to do something similar...


I like the way she cut out the usable parts of the embroidery and added 1930's reproduction fabrics (these kinds of embellished linens are usually from the 1920-1940 era).  This past summer I started collecting 30's repros with this kind of quilt in mind.

However...I LOVE LOVE LOVE star blocks...especially when the stars look like they are floating rather than touching each other.  I've been doing some research and finally found a free pattern here that has floating stars.  

Yesterday I made a test block out of some scraps to see if I liked the way it looked and if it would go together fairly easily without too much aggravation, hair-pulling-out, etc.  I am pleased to announce that it met all of my criteria!  :)

My test block...I'm thinking I might turn it into a pillow for our sofa...



Well...I couldn't stop there.  Nooooooooo...I had to go on and make a block out of one of my vintage pillowcase embroideries...


I know I'm going to have fun making this quilt because I just LOVE those 30's reproduction fabrics.  By the way, because some of these linens are thin, I am applying a lightweight iron-on interfacing to them to strengthen them in the quilt.


Now I want to share a new quilting notion with you that I purchased at my LQS, Classic Quilt Shop.   In the past I have hated HST's (half-square triangles) because of having to mark the backs of each little piece and then TRYING DESPERATELY to sew straight, etc.  Just a pain in the you-know-what to me.  They always came out wonky.  :(

I found this notion at the quilt store and used it yesterday to make my blocks and IT WORKS!!!


It is a piece of plastic cling that you put on the bed of your machine and it gives you lines to match up your points to...then you just guide your fabric under the needle while keeping your corners lined up on the lines!!!  Easy-peasy!!!   It also has a 1/4" guide line so when you are sewing a scant 1/4" seam, you just line up your fabric to that one!!!  Since it is a cling it is easily applied and removed as often as you need!

Here it is on my machine with a leader/ender under the needle.   Ten dollars well spent!!!



Loretta


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Busy Busy Busy...


"It's the thought that counts".  

If that is true then I have blogged many, many times over the last couple of weeks because I've "thought" about it a LOT.  Putting fingers to the keyboard is another thing altogether.  

I've been trying to get a couple quilts ready to gift...which I thought would be happening around the beginning of the new year.  However, our plans have changed a little so the quilts will be hanging around here with me a little longer.  BUT at least they will be ready to gift when I get the chance because I've been busy binding and labeling them!

In the past couple of weeks, I finally finished up the Sherbet quilt...


...but haven't had a chance to take pictures of it.  I will post pictures of it soon, though.  I really love the way it turned out!  

Here are the labels I've made for 2 of the quilts I've finished up in the last couple of weeks...



For obvious reasons, I've had to blot out the name of the recipient until such time that they have been gifted.

I finished the quilting on the Daffodil quilt 2 years ago, but had never put the binding on it.  


BUT...I can finally remove that task from my "to do" list and now the quilt is ready for labeling!  :)


See...I told you I'd been busy!!  LOL


Today Andy installed some much-needed track lighting over my cutting table!  


I can see now...it's a Christmas miracle!  I have angled the far right light so it shines on my ironing board.


Tomorrow when I am in town, I will go get some conduit to attach and cover the cord along the wall.

Loretta


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Recap...

Quote for the Day:
"That's what the holidays are for...
for one person to tell the stories and another to dispute 
~Lara Flynn Boyle

This week we celebrated Thanksgiving Day in the USA.  Our son, daughter-in-law and 2 grandsons came in from Georgia last Sunday and just left today.  Even though everyone was in different stages of being sick, including Andy, it was still a good visit.  Of course, I could have done without the gift of their illness that struck me down on Thanksgiving evening after dinner.  

Yep..as if falling down 2 steps onto the hardwood entryway floor on Tuesday (after climbing over the baby gate) wasn't bad enough...I finally succumbed to the crud that has been sweeping across everyone else.  

But onward and upward...since there is no where else to go when you are sick...here are some pictures from their visit...

Andrew I and Andrew III



Little Alex thought it was great fun to go up and down the stairs...




...unfortunately, he's pretty clumsy and rolled down about 10 stairs (thank God they are carpeted) so we had to put a baby gate....

...where he spent much time lamenting his captivity and looking pitiful...


Both of the grandsons LOVE LOVE LOVE playing with Grandpa on the floor...




Paul and his two sons...


Wherever Grandpa is, Andrew will be close by...



Bookend Boston Terriers...their dog, Missy, on the left, and our Ginger on the right...


Our neighbors came over to join us for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday and we had a good time chatting and laughing together...


Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday!

Loretta